Christmas Cards from the Front – The Whinwell Children’s Home

This month’s document of the month focusses on the additional records held for one of Stirling’s privately run children’s homes.

Within the records of the Whinwell Children’s Home, Stirling held at the Archives is an album of cards and photographs relating to the First World War. This album was compiled by the first Director of the Home, Miss Annie Croall. Miss Croall was very well respected and appears to have been much loved by the children in her care. Many of these wrote to her once they had left the institution, and this included men and boys who were serving as soldiers in the conflict that began in August 1914.

It was usual for those men on active service to write letter to family at home. For those who had been orphaned, Miss Croall was the next best thing to family – many of the cards chosen by the men are those specifically intended to be sent to a mother, and have that word in the dedication. For some of these boys, the Director of the Whinwell Home was the nearest thing to a mother that they had ever known.

Amongst these cards in the album are some Christmas cards, shown here. Owing to censorship, it isn’t always possible to track down the individuals who sent the cards in the case files held at the Archives for the children who passed through the doors of the Whinwell Home. Once thing we do know, is that Miss Croall treasured all the communications she received from her former charges ­– all are preserved carefully in both this album and the other records that she kept.

The records of the Whinwell Home that are open to the public may be accessed at the Council Archives.